«What do we need most in the world?" It is not
to be normal, but to be loved and to have someone believing in us…»
L'Arche in a nutshell
L'Arche are places
where adults with an intellectual disability and those who accompany them, the
employed "assistants" or civic service programme volunteers, live and
which fall within the medico-social sector, offer all their members the chance
to be connected by inter-personal relationships which go beyond the mere
support relationship. In L'Arche, we try to "live with" people with a
disability, rather than "do for" them.
community is based on three dimensions: the community dimension, the
professional dimension and the spiritual dimension.
The community dimension
sharing their daily lives, encounters and friendships take place between the
members of a same community .
people skills and technical competence, which always have to be kept
up-to-date. When accompanying people with an intellectual disability knowledge,
knowing what to do and how to do it are needed.
relates to the human desire to find meaning in your existence and to deepen
your capacity to love, to experience true relationships, and, if you are a
believer, to live according to your own religious tradition. .
for a brilliant military career, this son of the General Governor of Canada
chose to dedicate his life to serving the weakest ones. After spending more
than 50 years sharing his life with people with an intellectual disability, his
message today is a universal one: welcoming the fragilities of each of us is an
essential path to building a more human society.
"I discovered that people with an intellectual
disability were the most oppressed people in the world." Jean Vanier
Erol Franko, a
psychiatrist, describes the 1960s context as follows:
reorganisation of the sectors the psychiatric hospitals were structured like
concentration camps. People were sent there without any consideration of their
backgrounds, life stories or their personalities. They could stay shut away for
fifteen or thirty years!"
was born in 1964 from an encounter between Jean Vanier and two men with an
intellectual disability, Raphaël Simi and Philippe Seux, who were living in a
psychiatric institution at the time. Profoundly touched by their distress, Jean
Vanier decided to live with them in a little house in the village of Trosly
Breuil in the Oise region. That was the beginning of the adventure….
Thanks to all
those who joined it, the L'Arche project spread rapidly to other regions,
countries and continents with very different contexts, cultures and religions.
The founding inspiration continues to this day in the 150 L'Arche communities
in 38 countries and the 5 continents.
Scenes of life in L'Arche
The candid scenes
of life testify to the "little moments of happiness" which punctuate
the routine in L'Arche homes, ESAT and SAJ workshops.
Funny, tender and
touching, these little stories and scenes of life paint a more vivid picture of
the fruit of your generosity.